The UAAP Season 80 Women’s Volleyball Tournament saw Sisi Rondina anchor the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses statistically and emotionally.
For much of her five-year stay in the Tigresses program, Rondina has been UST’s most fiery competitor, elevating her teammates with a sheer drive to win.
Now, the jersey-raising, power-hitting Cebuana may have met her match in rookie Eya Laure.
The most anticipated recruit of her class, Laure has already brandished her fiery game and equally loud on-court personality.
From stare-downs to hair flips to runway-worthy struts, Laure has been fearless in her first forays as a Golden Tigress.
Gunning for a fitting end to her UAAP career, Rondina welcomes having Laure on the court.
“Si Eya kasi parang same lang kami.
“‘Di pa siya kasama sa amin before, nagsasabi na yan na, ‘Ate, ‘pag nasa seniors na ako, tutulungan ka namin.’ Hindi pa nga siya nasa court, ganoon na pinapakita niya,” Rondina shared.
“Ang masasabi ko sa bata napaka-passionate, dedicated. Isa rin siya sa tutulong para makabalik kami sa Finals. Nangangarap din talaga ‘yung bata na makaabot kami doon. Sabi ko, tulungan lang talaga kami, patience lang,” said the four-time UAAP gold medalist.
Rondina and Laure have had numerous talks over the off-season, both already raring to start UAAP Season 81.
From both their perspectives, they have a seamless relationship. Having two die-hard personalities could greatly benefit UST’s ethos.
“Actually, kahit nung nasa Dumaguete nag-uusap kami ni Ate Sisi.
“Napagco-compare namin ‘yung laro naming dalawa pati ‘yung difference sa paglalaro namin ni Ate Ej [Laure]. Sabi nga ni Ate Sisi, swak kami kasi nga magka-ugali kami sa kung paano maglaro,” Laure declared.
Laure has been fierce since her father, former PBA player Eddie, urged her to take every game seriously from a young age.
Many UAAP players come into the league with the same vigor as Laure, but eventually lose their spunk once the scrutiny from UAAP fans hits them. Laure has no plans of listening to her critics, like her senior Rondina.
“Sa akin naman kasi, pagdating ng UAAP, focus lang ako sa UAAP. Hindi ko na lang pakikinggan ‘yung sasabihin ng iba. Ang importante sa akin ‘yung ilalaro ko. Makikinig lang ako sa mga seniors ko, sa mga coaches ko.”